Off The Shelf vs Custom Software Development

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There are many times when a business or company is going to need some software to help with the everyday running and management of their business. There are lots of different types of software, and they can do everything from stock taking and accounting, to photo editing and web design.

There is software that is designed for small companies with a single user, while others are made for multinational companies that have a large base of users who are located around the world.

The type types of software

When it comes to software, there are two options. You can either pick up a piece of “off the shelf” software, or you can connect with a software developer and have a solution custom made to your specific requirements.

There are pros and cons of both options, and in this article, we are going to take a look at both types, and what advantages and disadvantages they have associated with them.

What does a software developer do?

The work of a software developer covers many aspects, from creating the foundations for various operating systems that programs will be based on, through the actual creation of various types of software that can be used by individuals and companies around the world.

There are two main types of software developers – application software developers and systems software developers. Application developers work mainly in the market that develops mobile or computer applications, mainly for consumers. Systems software developers work in the OS and network distribution industries and are mainly focused on creating solutions for organizations, which can include business enterprises, military, and communication-based software.

If you need bespoke software development to have a customized piece of software built for your business then you need to get in contact with a software developer to work with.

Advantages of Off the Shelf Software

Many small independent companies will go with the off the shelf option, and there are a number of reasons for this. The main one is the cost. It is much cheaper to use a piece of software that has already been developed and tested, compared with getting something designed for your exact needs.

Most types of software, such as accounting, customer information or photo and video editing will usually have all of the basic features that most small businesses will need. They are not going to be the complete ideal solution for everyone, but for the price you can purchase them for, you aren’t really in a position to complain too much.

Off the shelf, the software is available instantly and would have also been thoroughly tested and debugged by the developers before being launched on the market. A custom-built piece of software could take many months to be developed, and then you’d also have to go through the debugging phases while problems and issues are ironed out. This can take a lot of time, work, and effort, and is really not a viable option for most small businesses.

Another advantage with off the shelf software is that in most cases, the software is something that is being constantly developed and improved, and most users of the software will be eligible for future upgrades. Sometimes these upgrades may cost a small fee, while others may be offered for free, depending on the software and the developers.

There will also be a good community for support with the software you can pick up in stores and online. Sometimes people may run into small problems or have difficulty in using certain aspects of the software. A quick search on one of the various online forums or support groups could usually give you the solution to your problem in a very short time.

If you were using a custom piece of software and ran into frequent problems, you’d be waiting a lot longer for the developer to find the problem and then provide a solution for it.

Advantages of custom made software

Though there are many advantages that off the shelf software has over bespoke software, there are still some key advantages.

The main advantage of a piece of custom build software is that it will be developed to your exact requirements. Most off the shelf solutions have the basic features that most users will need, but there will always be some features that are not included or were not even considered.

With bespoke software, you can request every single feature that you are going to need. You aren’t going to have to modify your standard operating procedures (SOP) in order to cater to the software you’ve picked up. Your way of doing business and how you run your company will be the foundations for the custom-built software.

Custom-developed software could also remove a lot of the bloat some standard off the shelf software carries with it. There may be a lot of features that you don’t need. You can simply have them removed from your software. This can help increase the speed of using the software, and also cut down on problems appearing in the future.

Hiring a software development team provides you with greater flexibility and also provides you with the ability to be involved in the development process, where aspects such as the user interface can be tested before being hardcoded into the system. You may have a specific way in which you want your software to function, and you’ll be able to get these thoughts and requests over to the developers.

Your software can also be developed to accommodate a large number of users or different aspects of your organization. If you are operating a multinational company, then you will have team members around the world, all working different hours of the day. The software can be developed to handle a large number of uses and connect with various offices and networks that you operate.

Some final thoughts

There are lots of advantages to both types of software, with each one having a number of advantages over the other. For most small businesses, off the shelf software is going to be the only real option, simply because of the high costs involved in getting your own software developed.

But if you are a large company and can afford the bespoke option, then this is the best solution to go with, as it means you will be getting a piece of software that has been developed to your exact requirements.

More on this topic:

How To Pick the Best Software for Your Company

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